Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 478 December 21, 1940

German raiders Komet & Orion and support ship Kulmerland release 514 prisoners captured from various ships, mainly women, children and the injured. They are handed over with some provisions to 2 English families on Emirau Island in the Bismarck Archipelago, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea. They will be picked up on December 29 by British SS Nellore and landed at Townsville, North Queensland, Australia, and provide Allied Intelligence with information on the raiders, including refuelling points, disguises and their use of Japanese facilities. 150 male prisoners are kept onboard Orion.

250 miles West of Freetown, Sierra Leone, U-65 hits Panamian tanker Charles Pratt with 2 torpedoes at 4 PM, exploding the cargo of 96,069 barrels of fuel oil (2 killed, 40 survivors abandon ship in 2 lifeboats and are rescued 4-5 days later by British MV Gascony & SS Langleegorse and landed at Freetown).

At noon, convoy MG1 leaves Malta bound for Gibraltar (empty merchant ships Clan Fraser, Clan Forbes & Ulster Prince with battleship HMS Malaya and 8 destroyers).

Overnight, Luftwaffe bombs Liverpool again. RAF bombers flying from Britain attack docks and oil tanks at Porto Marghera, near Venice. Venice itself is not damaged.

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